Library break-ins "solved" by Internet filters

I’d decided not to blog about this unique library filtering saga until the story was resolved. Well, it was resolved last week exactly as I predicted. Here’s the salient points:

  • Library board doesn’t install filters. It’s been this way for years with no significant complaints.
  • Library experiences a series of break-ins.
  • Turns out teen boys were breaking into the library to look at porn on the library computers.
  • City shuts off library’s Internet access.
  • Board meets. Agrees to “solve” problem by installing filters on the computers.
  • Library gets Internet access back.

There’s no two ways about this one folks, the library board caved into the pressure. Ultimately I believe the actual problem, teens committing a crime by breaking into the library, wasn’t actually addressed. No article I read about this story mentioned that maybe the building’s security needed to be improved. Really, the old library non-filtering policy wasn’t the issue since the boys obviously felt the need to break in after hours to view porn. I’m sure that if they felt that they could get away with looking at porn during normal library hours, they would have done so instead of taking the risks involved in the crime they ended up committing.

I’ve learned something new as a result of this story. It turns out that break-ins can be stopped by porn filters. Go figure.

Published by

Michael Sauers

Michael Sauers is currently the Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission in Lincoln, Nebraska and has been training librarians in technology for more than 15 years. He has also been a public library trustee, a bookstore manager for a library friends group, a reference librarian, serials cataloger, technology consultant, and bookseller. He earned his MLS in 1995 from the University at Albany’s School of Information Science and Policy. Michael’s twelfth book, Google Search Secrets (w/ Christa Burns) was published October 2013 and has two more books on the way. He has also written dozens of articles for various journals and magazines. In his spare time he blogs at, runs Web sites for authors and historical societies, takes many, many photos, and reads more than 100 books a year.

3 thoughts on “Library break-ins "solved" by Internet filters”

  1. Wow, that story is really amazing and disturbing. I do like this quote though “Internet service needs to be reinstated so the library can do its job” recognizing that internet is essential to what we do!

  2. Hah! Filters are more powerful than you realized.

    Couldn’t they turn off the access at night? One library I worked at the server was in a locked closet and all one would have to do was flip a switch or pull a few wires. Maybe it’s more complex than that, but I doubt it.

  3. I also find it disturbing that there’s been no word on how the teens were punished for breaking into the library. I agree with the Travelin’ Librarian. The “solution” does not solve the real problem.

    Also, how can the library really be held responsible for things that happen in the library when the library is closed and those teens were trespassing?

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